First Look – 2012 Bontrager RXL Mountain Bike Shoes
For 2012, the top of the line Bontrager RXL mountain bike is complete new except for the Micro-Fit buckle, which was introduced in 2011.
The basics: The RXL (Race X Lite) uses a very stiff, lightweight Silver Series carbon sole with a mix of fixed, dual injected TPU lugs and removable/replaceable forefoot tread blocks. The upper is their InForm Pro last, which is the same last used introduced on the insanely lightweight 2011 RXXXL road shoes. The MTB version has a textured
rubber synthetic microfiber protection at the toe and running along the length of the shoe above the sole. Above that it transitions to a glossy section of the same synthetic microfiber and then a mesh. The tongue is well padded and vented.
Now for the weight and details…
The size 47 shoe comes in at 445g per shoe. That’s 0.98lbs per shoe, or just shy of 2lbs for the pair.
It uses two Velcro straps with an EVA padded ratcheted main strap.
The Micro-Fit ratchet uses dual release buttons (black) to allow for “micro” 1.5mm releases by simply alternating which one you press. Push both simultaneously to release it fully to remove your foot. On the inner side of the shoe, the strap is adjustable to help line up the pad in the center of the foot.
The inner strap adjuster is much lower profile than past models, which is particularly good if you have carbon cranks. I rode their old shoes (2010?) with the larger strap mount and it ended up rubbing through several layers of carbon on my SRAM XO crankset within a couple of rides. That’s something I’ll be watching closely as we review these.
The rubber bumper provides good coverage most of the way around the shoe.
The heel cup has lower vents and a pretty unique “Heel Trap” metal band. Simply squeeze to shape it around your Achilles tendon for a semi-custom fit.
Another feature to keep your heel in place is the non-slip inner fabric. We’ve seen this on only a couple of brands, but it’s a great idea. The fabric is smooth when pushing down, but becomes coarse when pushing up. So, your foot slides in easily but resists sliding out thanks to the angled fabric.
Huge tread blocks on either side of the cleat are replaceable. We’re thinking that also means removable, which might shed a few grams of rotational weight without hurting performance when hike-a-biking. We’ll see.
The only visible part of the carbon sole is a thin V-shaped strip. The rest is protected by the tread and a diamond-ribbed plastic section.
Lastly, the insoles are heat moldable for a custom fit. Simply remove the arches, stick them in the oven at 200º for two minutes or until the indicator sticker turns black, then quickly reassemble them, insert into shoes and put them on. Stand still for three minutes and they’ll harden to your foot’s shape. The instructions say this can be repeated two more times if necessary.
The Bontrager RXL MTB shoes retail for $279 and should hit stores in January. They’re available in sizes 37 to 48 EU, with some half sizes in the middle of the range. Wide lasts are available in 40-48 EU. Color options are black or white.